FLUSHING, NY, September 8, 2011 – For some immigrants who come to this country, the search for the American dream can quickly turn into an American nightmare – especially in a poor economy. But not for Maria-Laura Arcos and Daniel Abaev, two Queens College students who despite difficult circumstances, are realizing their dreams of attaining a college education and pursuing a business career with the help of a QC Business Forum scholarship.
Maria-Laura Arcos, 43, is a single mother from Uruguay, who works full-time as a parent coordinator for the NYC Department of Education. A resident of Jackson Heights, she came to the U.S. in 1994 and enrolled at QC the following year. In 1996 her daughter Caroline was born. Two years later Arcos divorced her husband and had to leave college to raise the baby on her own.
A firm believer in the importance of education, Arcos was determined one day to return to QC. When her mother retired a few years ago and was able to look after Caroline, Arcos began taking classes at night after work and on weekends. An economics major with high grades, she hopes to graduate QC in the next year or two. Her goal is to go on to earn a graduate degree in statistics or actuarial sciences.
“I am passionate about everything I do – my job, my education and my daughter,” says Arcos. “I love learning, especially math, statistics and economics. I also want a better future for myself and my family.
“When I found out I had won the Business Forum scholarship, I couldn’t believe it,” Arcos continues. “My economics text books are well over $100 each, so the scholarship will help pay for them, my student loans, supplies, fees and other college expenses.”
Daniel Abaev, 20, who lives in Forest Hills, came to this country from Israel with his mother and sister 13 years ago when his parents divorced. While enrolled full-time as an accounting major, the honors student supports his mother and pays all the major bills by working as an assistant manager at a hair salon. Last month Abaev landed an unpaid internship in the accounting department of a computer services company. After he graduates next June with a B.A. in Accounting and Information Systems, Abaev plans to study for an MBA and become a Certified Public Accountant.
“I feel I’ve reached a perfect balance in my life where I can excel in school and also support my family,” says Abaev. “I am proud of my success in achieving all my goals… pursuing the career of my dreams in college and learning how to manage a business. I’m in America where opportunities are there for the taking, and I plan on seizing every one that comes my way.
“I was thrilled to receive the scholarship especially since there are so few in my field,” he continues. “The timing couldn’t have been better. Now I don’t have to work as much to pay the household bills.”
Since 2006 the Queens College Business Forum scholarship has been awarded annually to one or two deserving students enrolled in one of the college’s business programs with outstanding academic performance and who demonstrates an enthusiasm and/or appreciation for his/her chosen field of study.
Launched in 2005 the QC Business Forum brings together the business community, local government, academia, and students to provide an opportunity for town and gown to interact. Influential leaders in a number of fields serve as keynote speakers at its breakfast lectures, touching on issues vital to the Queens business community. The next Business Forum will be a luncheon panel discussion led by WCBS Newsradio Business Reporter Joe Connolly on September 23 focusing on “How to Survive in Small Business in Today’s Economy.”